“Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.”
I can somehow relate to this little prayer by a child named Nan found in Children’s Letters to God: The New Collection (Compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall).
It is hard to love everyone. Some people seem to know how to push all of our buttons. Some people have mistreated us or even been abusive. People have really hurt us.
How are you at forgiving? Maybe you can relate to this statement I heard one day. “The problem I have with forgiveness is that most of the people I need to forgive do not deserve to be forgiven.”
It is true. If we base our forgiveness on worthiness, we will probably find little reason to forgive. We do not often get a beautiful, heartfelt apology for the damage people do to us. In his book, Rabbi Harold Kushner makes the case that the primary reason to forgive is because it is a favor we do for ourselves.
In finding a way to forgive, we free ourselves from the power the other has had over us. He says that the other person “may or may not deserve forgiveness, but you deserve better than to waster your energy being angry at him.”
If you have anyone that you need to forgive, I hope you will join us for worship this weekend.
We will talk about Rabbi Kushner’s chapter on forgiveness and someone from the Bible who had every reason not to forgive: Joseph. Any of us who ever had a brother or sister should be able to relate to some of Joseph’s story. You will remember that Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him; so jealous that they sold him into slavery and told their father that he had been killed by a wild animal. In a seemingly ironic twist of fate, Joseph rose up from their betrayal to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. Then the day came when he saw these same brothers stand in front of him begging him to sell them grain so they could feed their families. We will remember how he handled this opportunity for revenge.
One of the highlights of our services on Sunday morning will be meeting our new Director of Children and Family Ministries: Jill McNiff. Jill, her husband and two children will be with us starting this weekend.
I look forward to worshipping with you.